The season of Advent, which comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year for Christians and this year encompasses the Sundays of December 3, 10, 17, and 24. Hence there are virtually only three full weeks in Advent in 2017.
During Advent, we prepare for, and anticipate, the coming of Christ. We remember the longing of Jews for a Messiah and our own longing for, and need of, forgiveness, salvation and a new beginning. Even as we celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also anticipate the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was promised by his first coming.
This year, in particular, we are in sore need of Christ to intervene into our world. We are a people weary – and wary – overwhelmed by hurricanes, floods, fires, and mass killings. And yet, we remember the promise that God will redeem his people. With the psalmist we say, “O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem” (psalm 130:7).
And we wait with hope. Our Advent offerings are designed to bring some hope into your life during this holy season. We invite you to explore the resources and reflections below and to select those which most resonate with you. We encourage you to set aside some time every day this Advent to still your soul and cast all your care on God, who cares for you. And we urge you to add your prayers to those of the Church that all people may recognize that Christ has come and is among us, and that we his people may reflect that.
Scripture readings for the First Sunday of Advent, December 3
Video reflection from the Rt. Rev. David Reed, bishop of the Diocese of West Texas
A selection from the Fall/Winter 2017 issue of Reflections magazine: Beginnings and Endings by the Rev. Carol Morehead.
Advent 2 – The King’s Highway
Scripture readings for the Second Sunday of Advent – December 10
Video reflection from the Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of West Texas.
Advent 3 – Watch for the Light
Scripture readings for the third Sunday of Advent -December 17
Video reflection from the Rt. Rev. David Reed
Daily reflections on the readings for the Third Sunday in Advent from the Rev. Dr. Jane Patterson (taken from our Advent 2014 series “Watch and Pray”) with a brief candle-lighting ceremony.
Advent 4 -The Almighty has Done Great Things
Scripture readings for the fourth Sunday in Advent – December 24.
Video reflection from the Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson
The Fall/Winter issue of Reflections magazine focuses on Advent: Hope for Hard Times.